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Digitizing a Piece of History from the AIDS Epidemic

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At the occasion of the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation collaborated with the Digital Scholarship Lab to create a new digital reproduction of the University of Rochester’s NAMES Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt. The 12 foot by 12 foot panel includes notes, tributes, and signatures collected in April 1994, when the national AIDS quilt was on display at University of Rochester’s Goergen Athletic Center.

There were three significant challenges with this digitization project. First, the size of the panel was too large to capture in a single image. Rather, it had to be systematically imaged piece by piece, and it was difficult to keep track of orientation within the panel during that process.

The second challenge was working with the material. The canvas material could be challenging to get flat, and minimize wrinkles, shadows, and warp in the images that were captured.

Finally, the editing process involved stitching dozens of images together and matching up not only the writing, but the texture of the fabric.

Once complete, the goal is to make the panel available online for viewers to view and interact with this piece of University history.

Read more on the process of digitizing the panel: https://dslab.lib.rochester.edu/digitizing-on-a-big-scale-the-names-projects-aids-memorial-quilt/

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